While it may not be often thought of as a serious criminal offense, criminal trespassing convictions can have severe penalties in Texas. If you’re accused of trespassing in the McAllen, Texas area, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away!
What is Criminal Trespassing?
According to FindLaw, criminal trespassing in Texas occurs when a person enters or remains on or in the property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person:
- Had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
- Received notice to depart but failed to do so.
What are the Penalties for Trespassing in Texas?
According to FindLaw, the penalties for criminal trespassing in Texas are divided into three categories, depending on the severity of the offense.
- Class C misdemeanor: a trespass committed on or within 100 feet of agricultural land, or on residential land and within 100 feet of a protected freshwater area. Class C misdemeanor penalties: Fine of up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor: a trespass with no other aggravating or mitigating factors. Class B misdemeanor penalties: Up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanor: a trespass offense that was (a) committed in a habitation or shelter center, Superfund site, or within a critical infrastructure facility; or (b) committed by a perpetrator carrying a deadly weapon in the commission of the offense. Class A misdemeanor penalties: Up to 1 year in jail, and fine of up to $4,000.
What are the Most Common Ways You Can Be Charged with Trespassing?
Trespassing can occur on both private and public property, and you do not have to receive a verbal warning that the property is off-limits. According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, some of the most common ways you could be accused of a trespass violation include:
- Entering onto property which you know you do not have the right to enter.
- Remaining on property after learning you do not have the right to be there.
- Entering a structure or property with the owner’s permission, but choosing to remain after the owner orders you to leave. For example, as a house guest who refuses to leave.
- Failing to leave a public building after being asked to leave, such as during those hours of the day or night when the building is regularly closed to the public after being asked to leave by someone employed there.
- Entering onto another’s property to interfere with business.
- Entering onto another’s property with the intent to damage the property.
- Unlawfully occupying the property of another.
- Cutting down, destroying, or injuring any kind of wood or timber standing or growing on someone else’s property
How To Defend Yourself if You’re Being Charged with Trespassing
If you are charged with trespassing, it’s important to understand the defenses available to you, such as:
- Public or private necessity: this might be used if you trespass in an emergency situation to protect the public good or to save or protect another person. The success of defense will depend on the actual circumstances of your case. In addition, if you damage the property in the course of trespassing you could be held responsible for those damages.
- Reclaiming property that rightfully belonged to you: this defense is often used when someone takes or keeps something of yours unlawfully, and you go onto their property to retrieve it. Additionally, an “Act of God” can place your item on their property, and retrieving it may be acceptable under the law.
- Consent: you could claim that the owner of the property gave you consent to be on their property. That consent can come in writing, but it can also be verbal. Keep in mind that minors or people who are mentally incapacitated are not able to legally give consent.
Have you been accused of trespassing in McAllen, Texas? Avoid the serious penalties of a trespassing conviction and have a criminal defense attorney examine your case! Juan Tijerina is here to help you effectively tell your side of the story and work tirelessly to get your charges dropped or reduced. Schedule your free consultation today! (956) 261-5609 or contact us online today!
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126